Written By: Ken Hulsey
Source: Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation
This year the Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation will again be running their annual 'Holiday Express' between the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry and the Oaks Amusement Park along the Willamette River. These holiday trains will be powered by both the famed ex Southern Pacific 'Daylight' GS-4 #4449 and the ex Spokane Portland and Seattle railroad 4-8-4 #700.
Railfans will get a rare chance to travel in vintage passenger cars from the golden age of railroading, while the kids will get a chance to meet Santa Claus himself!
These special trains run both during the day and also at night. Though the night time trains are lit up like a rolling Christmas Tree, a real sight to behold.
“There’s something special about an evening ride from Oaks Park to OMSI,” said Ed
Immel, V.P. of Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation, the organization operating the special
holiday train, which only runs in the first two weekends of December each year.
When one notices the powerful and historic Southern Pacific 4449 locomotive, and the
rail cars behind it decked out in lights, hears the hissing as the steam rises, and sees the
silhouettes of people standing near the train, it evokes a magical, sometimes nostalgic
“After dark, you can catch a glimpse of the Christmas Boats as they go around Ross
Island, see downtown Portland light up at night, and feel the crisp night air,” Immel
added. “Kids are always amazed when they see a working steam engine, but parents
Proceeds from the Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation's holiday trains will go directly towards the construction of a permanent home for the three locomotives owned by the city of Portland Oregon, #449, #700 and ex Oregon Railroad & Navigation Co. #197, a 4-6-2 Pacific.
As many rail fans already know, the ex Southern Pacific GS-4 #449 was removed from a park in Portland in 1975, restored to working condition, and pulled the historic 'American Freedom Train" around the country to celebrate this countries bicentennial (1976).
Child: $8 (ages 3 thru 12)
Family Pack: $39 (good for 2 adults & 2 children)
Fridays-only Family Pack: $39 (good for 2 adults, 3 children)
A complete schedule, and how to order tickets, can be found on the Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation's website - HERE
A Model Of The 4449 In Her American Freedom Train Colors Can Be Found Here - Bachmann HO Scale 4-8-4 GS-4 Locomotive - American Freedom Train #4449